Devastating consequences of drought

Sri Lanka: No.1 country for suicides, again

Debt in war-affected communities is driving many to suicide.

The World Health Organization recently confirmed Sri Lanka is yet again the No.1 country for suicides in the world. And the national crisis is affecting Christians too.

There has been a systematic exploitation of war-affected communities by loan sharks targeting women in particular. Once they fall into that debt trap, there is no coming back. A family is faced with dire choices: to sell valuable property, be displaced from their homes or go to West Asia as housemaids — and then families can fall apart.

Loans come with 25-30% interest with repayment due inside a year. The very next day after the sign up, they get their money, and once they make an initial repayment their credit limit is doubled, encouraging them to borrow more.

The struggling borrowers then find themselves forced to obtain fresh loans from new lenders just to keep up. Thus the scheme goes on and many see suicide as the only way out.